YOU know Jonas Tibayan is getting the attention from college teams when you see former Gilas coach and now Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin watching a game by Chiang Kai Shek College.
In fact, it's not just Ateneo but also fellow UAAP heavyweights La Salle, Far Eastern University and National University who have shown interest in the 6-foot-3 forward who has been standing out in the junior ranks for the Blue Dragons.
Tibayan, though, insisted college is still far from his mind, saying he still has to wrap up two tournaments for Chiang Kai Shek - the MMBL and the PSSBC where Baldwin was recently spotted watching one of the Blue Dragons' games.
“Maraming commitment kasi po hinihintay ko muna matapos ‘yung last liga namin ‘yung MMBL,” said Tibayan, who on Tuesday scored 18 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in CKSC's 54-37 win over La Salle Zobel at the Philippine Buddhacare Academy gym in Quezon City.
Tibayan is in his final year in high school at CKSC, five years after he was recruited by the Blue Dragons out of Dr. Celedonio Salvador Elementary School in Paco, Manila when he was spotted after maving waves in the Palarong NCR games.
The power forward credits experience gained from his stint with the Gilas Pilipinas cadets for the big improvement in his game.
At 17 years old, Tibayan was the only high school player to be picked for the Gilas cadets side that played in the Seaba Cup early this year.
Although he didn't get much exposure, Tibayan said Gilas practices where he had to bang bodies with the likes of now PBA players Troy Rosario and Mac Belo went a long way in his maturity process.
“Kumuha lang ako ng experience. Kahit hindi ako masyadong nagamit, nakita ko silang maglaro,” said Tibayan. “Kabantayan ko sila Troy Rosario, Mac Belo, malalaki sa akin ‘yun. Sumasabay lang ako.” he said.
Tibayan, however, said he still has a lot of areas to improve on if he hopes to make it big in college as a small forward.
“Iniimprove ko pa shooting at dribbling ko. ‘Yun ang problema ko,” said the teenager.